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Wednesday, June 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Parents Lose Appeal in Child’s Pill-Pushing Case

CINCINNATI (CN) - The 6th Circuit dismissed a lawsuit brought by the parents of a seventh-grade student in Kentucky who was suspended and charged in juvenile court for giving prescription Adderall to a classmate.

The student, identified as "A.E.," slipped her classmate an Adderall during a movie on the last day of school. A.E. takes Adderall to manage her bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Assistant principal James Lacey called A.E.'s mother two days later, informing her about the problem.

On the first day of school the following year, Lacey called A.E. into his office and asked her to write a statement about what had happened last May. Lacey suspended her and the classmate for one day.

At a juvenile court meeting, A.E. was given the option of entering a diversion agreement or facing formal proceedings. She chose the diversion program. She was ultimately charged with a trafficking violation that was dismissed after she completed the program.

But A.E. and her parents filed a federal lawsuit against Lacey, the Grant County Board of Education and other school officials, claiming they violated A.E.'s Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights by forcing her to write a statement for the purpose of "coercing" her confession for use in juvenile court proceedings.

However, this claim "is not borne out by the record," Judge Ralph Guy wrote, adding that the plaintiff's detention "was otherwise reasonable."

The court upheld the district court's decision to grant qualified immunity to the defendants.

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